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Meet the no-nonsense Blackberry

The last time we used a Blackberry device, it didn’t quite impress us. So, we were sceptical when we received the new Z30 for a test drive. And, we had a situation too, but one of a psychological nature. The core of which laid in the way a smart phone, and its public image had changed over the last few years. And, if the newer launches — and their public appreciation — are anything to go by, it is that work and fun are inseparable.

What we liked
Connectivity: The Z30 has NFC, WiFi, is 4G/LTE ready, supports WiFi hotspot and has an HDMI output port. During 10 days of usage, we didn’t face a single call drop.

Sound and Display: The 5-inch screen with a resolution of 1280x730 and a density of 295ppi is not bad either. The voice feels smooth in your ears. You can talk for an entire hour without feeling any pinching heat in your ears.

Battery and hardware: The battery lasted for nearly two days of moderate usage. The last time we actually wrote something like this was again, about a BB device. The Z30 runs on a 1.7 Ghz dual core Snapdragaon processor with quadcore graphics, which is fast. The 2GB RAM complements it superbly.

Camera: The rear camera at 8MP isn’t great, but it comes with an autofocus lock, so, there’s no need to tap the screen each time you move your camera. The front camera is 2MP with fixed focus.

BB OS 10.2: The Z30 comes with the Blackberry 10.2 OS, which means that apart from the regular features like Blackberry Hub that were found in the earlier OS 10 phones, new features like a Priority Hub, which allows you to set a few numbers or email addresses as a priority, are also present. Even in the absence of it, we loved the ease with which we could access all our messages, although we did struggle, initially; the BB Hub is easy. A superb working device, overall.

What we didn’t like
We would go back to it every day, as if the Z30 were our partner. But here’s the thing — we’d like for our partner to be far from formal, right? After all, we’d like some fun in a relationship. Unfortunately, this is where the Z30 fails to appeal. Suddenly, when you’re done working with it, the gloomy (read: formal, blue) interface kills the buzz. We’d love for a splash of vibrancy — perhaps, red, green, orange? So, you can tweak the theme, but to what extent? How about a widget board, or a Home screen with a weather app or digital clock that you could just stare at? And then comes the price. At R39,990, it comes across as a bit expensive, we still think it should have been priced under 35K.

The Z30 is smarter and intelligent; hopefully, BB will add a few “fun” features in their next BB OS 10 update. Until then, we will miss the fun times.

Quick specs
Processor: 1.7 Ghz Snapdragon S4
Memory: 16 Gb (storage), 2GB RAM
Display: 5-inch AMOLED (295 ppi)
Operating System: BB OS 10.2
Connectivity: 4G/LTE, NFC, Wifi
PRICE: R39,990 

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